questionning

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kindness
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questionning

Postby kindness » Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:37 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand no real, inherent 'self' to me that we are not separate from others but our backgrounds, experiences, upbringing and relationships have us creating a story about "who" we are. This story affects our thoughts and actions and form a veil to seeing clearly.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking for a guide who will assist me to find freedom from my story, liberation, to see truth ... to be freed from limiting beliefs about my self. I have always been a searcher and have thought freedom would come from study and meditation, but find I am still seeking freedom.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect a guided conversation will be focused and will consist of questions that will lead to understanding of nonself. I expect the conversation to help me to find clarity, to help me to drop my story about my self.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have studied Buddhism and have meditated for many years. I believe questions can help us to articulate our thoughts and guide us to clarity.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
10

Bananafish
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Re: questionning

Postby Bananafish » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:43 am

Hi kindness! Welcome to LU. :)
My name is Bananafish, and would be more than glad to be your help.


If it's ok for you, can we start by your telling what the "I" is for you?
What is the experience of being "you?"


Please write as much as possible, and feel free to write whatever comes up.


Looking forward to your reply!


Bananafish

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kindness
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Re: questionning

Postby kindness » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:04 am

Hello Bananafish,

Thank you for your welcoming and offering to be my guide! I appreciate that you have asked about my experience of myself, and given me the freedom to write about whatever comes up.

So here goes:
I grew up in a dysfunctional family, with an alcoholic father and both of my parents were narcissists. I had an older brother who had epilepsy and I became his caretaker at an early age and so became a 'parentified' child. This was the beginning of many years of taking care of people and trying to please people.

I loved school and did well and felt accomplished and 'normal' and it was a break from being at home where no matter what/how much I did, it was never 'good enough'. My parents were demanding and told me what to do, who my friends should be and who I could/could not date ... and as a teenager I lied to them so that I could do as I wished. I felt very insecure as a teenager ... not pretty enough, different, not popular enough.

While at college I took a music class as a Freshman that was meant for Seniors ... it must have been fate or Karma. I walked into the class and saw Rick and knew I would marry him. What I did not know was that he was just like my parents ... narcissistic and emotionally cold.
We married and went to NY where he worked on his Graduate degree while I worked to support us.

We were married for 25 years and had/have two children, now adults, Adam and Zachary. After many years of working and raising our children and being a soccer mom, I discovered Buddhism and fell in love. I had been searching for a way to live my life, which I found in Buddhism. I loved the Dharma, the meditation, the spiritual community, and the people who had been practicing for a long time. I saw, in those people, qualities that I admired. I saw in them what I wanted to be.
I became a vegetarian, I got myself ordained in Italy and I came back to America to teach classes and work with women in the ordination process.

And then I realized I was married to a man who was emotionally distant and with whom I felt lonely and depressed. So I initiated a divorce and have never remarried. He has not seen Adam or Zachary for many years ... and he works as a family therapist ... so ironic. He married a woman who was one of his clients, who is agoraphobic.

I am very close to, and proud of, Adam and Zachary. Adam is married and the father of 2 children and works as a lawyer in NY. Zachary is a college professor and lives in Tuscon Arizona. I live in NH and am happy Adam and Zach are independent and working in their chosen fields, but I miss seeing them.

I have always worked in the 'helping professions' ... Social Work, Volunteer Coordination etc and am currently working as a Chaplain for Hospice. I love this work and am grateful for the opportunity to work with people facing death. There is so much to learn and many opportunities to give love.

I have lived alone since I was divorced and enjoy solitude and quiet especially since my work is so full on, so on the continuum from introvert to extrovert, I am right in the middle. I live in a 500 square foot cottage by a pond, surrounded by pine and hemlock trees. I am happy with my own company and have several dear friends. I love being in natural surrounds, practicing yoga and meditation, reading beautifully written books and poetry, watching excellent films and engaging in deep conversation with friends and colleagues.

So that is what the "I" is for me ... glimpses of childhood, adolescence and adulthood ...parentified child, caregiver, people-pleaser, seeker, fiercely independent, lover of creativity and beauty and most happy when I am engaged in conversation or relationship when I loose my sense of self and am relating without self-consciousness, but being truly present with another person.

Thank you again, Bananafish, Now I look forward to your reply!

Bananafish
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Re: questionning

Postby Bananafish » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:17 pm

Good evening from Yokohama Japan. :)


Thank you kindness for telling about yourself!


I happen to be a Buddhist as well, so maybe we have something inn common that can
be shared.


Yes, when it comes to "I", it is natural that one refers to memory, although
here in our dialogue we look at what is here and now, right in this moment.


This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to deny the past, no.

It is rather an invitation of looking into the nature of past and understanding it.
So, it is surely a gentle kind of work. :)


So, let's have a look:
Is the "you" in your memory yourself, or a memory of you, which is not yourself?


So that is what the "I" is for me ... glimpses of childhood, adolescence and adulthood ...parentified child, caregiver, people-pleaser, seeker, fiercely independent, lover of creativity and beauty and most happy when I am engaged in conversation or relationship when I loose my sense of self and am relating without self-consciousness, but being truly present with another person.


Thank you! Now ...




What are you, when you don't think about what you are?




Please take your time to contemplate this question.


Warmest regards,

Bananafish

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kindness
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Re: questionning

Postby kindness » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:42 pm

Hello Bananafish!

Thank you for your response, all the way from Japan!

You ask excellent questions!

Is the "you" in your memory yourself, or a memory of you, which is not yourself?
the 'me' in my memory self is a memory of 'me' which is not my 'self'

And I love this
What are you, when you don't think about what you are?
then "i" am stillness, vast and expansive, open-hearted, acceptance, love

May all blessings be yours,
Kindness

Bananafish
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Re: questionning

Postby Bananafish » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:42 am

Hello, kindness. :) It's getting chilly here in Yokohama.


the 'me' in my memory self is a memory of 'me' which is not my 'self'


Great! So, what and where is the 'self?'
If I were before you, would you be able to show it to me?


then "i" am stillness, vast and expansive, open-hearted, acceptance, love


And is it different from what you have thought yourself to be?



Warmest regards,


Bananafish

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kindness
Posts: 10
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Re: questionning

Postby kindness » Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:22 pm

Hello Bananafish!

It is getting chilly in NH, U.S. as well ... and very windy, and this morning, there were tiny bits of snow falling from the sky!

So what and where is the self?
So, the self, as I have thought of as my self, is perhaps memories, story lines, ideas, thoughts.
And where is the self?
The self is in the past, thoughts in the mind, ideas of who I have thought of as my self.
If you were before me, would I be able to show it to you?
Yes and no ... perhaps I would show you my self as I have thought of myself (as a collections of memories, story lines and ideas) which would be reflected in my behavior, which might be cautious or flippant or flirtatious or nervous ...
and then perhaps I would come from a place of nonself, a place of expansiveness and stillness, acceptance and love.

then "i" am stillness, vast and expansive, open-hearted, acceptance, love
And is it different from what you have thought yourself to be?
Yes and no again, but mostly yes ; ) I can be very hard on my self.
I have had glimpses of being still, vast, expansive, open-hearted, accepting and loving when in nature, with others (in deep conversation), with friends and family members and when working at a prison and in Hospice, and when in meditation.

Thank you Bananafish! And stay warm ...

Bananafish
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Re: questionning

Postby Bananafish » Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:32 am

HI kindness! :)


So, the self, as I have thought of as my self, is perhaps memories, story lines, ideas, thoughts.


Can you be sure? The word "perhaps" suggests that you're guessing, but here we want to look at what
doesn't need any guesses. So, again, what is the "self," here and now, without any assumption or imagination?


The self is in the past, thoughts in the mind, ideas of who I have thought of as my self.


Is the self something like an entity, or is it rather insubstantial, like a character in a story?


perhaps I would show you my self as I have thought of myself (as a collections of memories, story lines and ideas) which would be reflected in my behavior, which might be cautious or flippant or flirtatious or nervous ...


Is the thought of yourself "yourself" per se?
Is a certain behavior "yourself" per se?


I have had glimpses of being still, vast, expansive, open-hearted, accepting and loving when in nature, with others (in deep conversation), with friends and family members and when working at a prison and in Hospice, and when in meditation.


What about when you feel angry, depressed, contracted, or ashamed?
Are you these?



Kind regards,


Bananafish

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kindness
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Re: questionning

Postby kindness » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:24 pm

Hi Bananafish !
OK, with certainty ...
the self = memories, story lines, assumptions, thoughts, ideas
it is insubstantial, ah yes! like a character in a story ; ) ... imagination
The thought of my self is not my self
I have thought of my self as my behaviors (past tense)
When I feel angry, depressed, contracted, or ashamed - the emotions are reactions from seeing myself as a separate self - reactions to others whom I have thought of as separate from my 'self'.
Thank you for your thoughtful questions!
Kindness

Bananafish
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Re: questionning

Postby Bananafish » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:08 am

Hi kindness. :) It’s raining here in Yokohama.

Hi Bananafish !
OK, with certainty ...
the self = memories, story lines, assumptions, thoughts, ideas
it is insubstantial, ah yes! like a character in a story ; ) ... imagination
The thought of my self is not my self
I have thought of my self as my behaviors (past tense)
When I feel angry, depressed, contracted, or ashamed - the emotions are reactions from seeing myself as a separate self - reactions to others whom I have thought of as separate from my 'self'.
Thank you for your thoughtful questions!
Kindness


How do you feel to see these?
Do you notice any change, something that can be called a shift?

Are you 100% sure that self is imaginary, and is that understanding
experiential, or rather intellectual?


Warmest regards,


Bananafish

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kindness
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Location: New Hampshire

Re: questionning

Postby kindness » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:49 pm

Hi Bananafish !

We have had a lot of rain for the past month. It was cloudy this morning and now the sun is shining through the clouds. The autumn leaves are colorful and falling from the trees. It is all very lovely. Are there seasons in Yokohama?

I feel fabulous to see this, to know that there is no substantial 'self', as separate from others. It is a relief and brings happiness. It is letting go of all that anger, depression, contraction and shame and opening up to knowing that those reactions come from wanting to protect the self from others. In the past, I have reacted to certain people and situations believing that I had to protect myself, or be 'right', or was defensive. Now, in similar situations, I can laugh and let go of old reactions. When I am with people (whom I may know or not know) I feel harmony. The other day I was in a store and saw a mom with her young son who was sitting on the high edge of the side of a shopping cart. Her hand was gently on his back and we exchanged a knowing glance, we both know how we want our children to be safe. With nonself, we want all beings to be safe and happy. It is as Shantideva wrote, when one part of the body hurts, the hand automatically touches where there is pain. This understanding is experiential.

Thank you Bananafish!

Bananafish
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Re: questionning

Postby Bananafish » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:49 pm

Good morning, kindness. :). Yes, we have seasons here.
It’s autumn now, and in some places we can see leaves that have beautifully
turned red.


I’m so grateful to know that you’re feeling that way!
Do you have anything you want explore further?


Peace,


Bananafish

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kindness
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Re: questionning

Postby kindness » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:48 pm

Hello Bananafish,
It is evening in the U.S. and I had a lovely day.
I have appreciated your responses and questions and guidance.
I am curious about you and your path and would love to read whatever you would like to share with me.
With gratitude,
Kindness

Bananafish
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Re: questionning

Postby Bananafish » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:38 am

Hi! Sure, would be nice if this helps ...


I’ve once suffered from depression, and that prompted me to the search.
During the search, I literally tried everything ranging from philosophy to occultism.
After a few years of search, I encountered zen and started to do zazen, or sitting in silence, so to speak. This gave me the indication of whereto go, and I got a certain direction for my search. Then, I was introduced to LU from one of the people I know, and was guided through the gate. It felt like everything I had understood intellectualy was verified by the experience here and now.


After seeing that there is no I, Life continued to unravel itself, and
it’s still showing some of its aspects that I’ve never noticed. I feel like
it’s like being in love with what is, and the more you look at it,
the more understanding, hence more love.


That’s pretty much the story. :)
Hope you enjoyed it?


Bananafish

Bananafish
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Re: questionning

Postby Bananafish » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:41 am

Kindness, if it’s clear for you that there is no I,
would you like to try a set of questions to check whether that understanding is
firm?

Please let me know how you feel about it.


Kind regards,


Bananafish


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